At the end of the day the trade negotiation game isn't that sophisticated. You negotiate as well as you can with whatever weapons you've got - political, logic, whatever - and when you sense the bus is going to take off you jump on board. It's as simple as that.I hope this quote ends up on a game theory exam for some economics students this year with the question being: if you were negotiating against this guy, what probability would you assign to him walking away from any deal?
The easy answer is that in all future trade negotiations he will sign anything and will never walk away. So cheers for that Tim.
Conclusion: it was ever thus. Once you hook NZ into the room, we'll sign any old deal that pops out.